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Myths and Misunderstandings about Self Defense (Part 1)

By Grant Cate NRA Certified Pistol and Self Defense Instructor

IT IS NOT LIKE TV AND THE MOVIES: As I conduct an NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course, and even in our more advanced courses like NRA Defensive Pistol, I probably say that phrase 25 times in a training day. John Wick never runs out of ammo. It is amazing how he fires his pistol, which holds 15 rounds in the magazine, 50 times without ever reloading! There is literally a hail of bullets crisscrossing the screen and only the bad guys seem to get hit! This makes for great, albeit ultra violent fantasy entertainment, but it is nothing like the reality of a gun fight. Real gunfights are NOTHING like what we see on the screen. There is nothing cool or romantic about a real life gunfight. In fact, real life gunfights are usually extremely sudden, brutal, bloody, and violent affairs that occur at very short range; frequently, inside of arms length.

Because we correct these myths in our class and tell our students the truth about the reality of self defense and its potential aftermath, some students think we are trying to talk them out of carrying concealed or defending themselves from attack inside their home. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think that in today's world, having responsibly armed citizens that are competent to defend themselves is extremely important. However, I think it is even more important that those responsibly armed citizens who are making that choice should do so based on reality, not some fanciful notion that have developed by watching action adventure TV and movies. The decision to take on the responsibility of defending oneself and family is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It is a moral and ethical decision that should be made in a soul searching manner. In my opinion, no one should carry a gun or position a gun in their home for self defense until that deep and prayerful decision is made. Once that decision is made, then a truly responsibly armed citizen should seek training from a competent self defense trainer. This training should start by making sure that the student understands that carrying the gun in and of itself does not make them safer. In fact carrying a gun without adequate training probably puts the carrier in more danger, not less. Being able to load the gun and hit the target at the range is only a first step. Without significant training beyond those basics then the likely outcome of an attempt at self-defense in a lethal encounter is that the gun will be taken away from the carrier and used on them. If you have made the commitment to carry a gun or use a gun in your home for self defense, I urge you to also make the commitment to get proper training and make yourself capable of the task in the real world, because again, it's not like TV.

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